More than 1 660 police officers have been dismissed for corruption in 40 months, national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega said on Wednesday.

Last month alone, 21 officers were kicked off the force.

Phiyega highlighted the arrest of eight police officers, who were nabbed by the Hawks in Mpumalanga on Tuesday for their alleged involvement in the illicit trade of cigarettes.

“The members that were arrested hold the ranks of constable and sergeant – the level of police officers that are supposed to be at the forefront of crime fighting and who South Africa is depending on to keep them safe,” she said.

“Instead they are alleged to have opted for the life of crime.”

An additional 19 officers were also recently arrested in Limpopo for similar crimes, said Phiyega.

“Despite this, we shall carry on valiantly to rid our communities and our police service of criminal and corrupt elements.”

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